December 1, 2013

The Flannery O'Connor Prayer Journal

I'm glad for the inspiration to read A Prayer Journal, W.A. Sessions' editing of a journal kept by Flannery O'Connor during 1946 and 1947 when she was a student at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Certain insights struck me as very deep and have been coming back to me in meditation, which I usually take as a sign that the Holy Spirit means for me to pay attention to them:

"I do not want to be lonely all my life but people only make us lonelier by reminding us of God."

"I feel too mediocre now to suffer. If suffering came to me I would not even recognize it."

The following passage really resonated with my own experience of prayer and journaling:
I will always be staggering between Despair & Presumption, facing first one & then the other, deciding which makes me look the best, which fits most comfortably, most conveniently. I'll never take a large chunk of anything. I'll nibble nervously here & there. Fear of God is right; but God, it is not this nervousness [.] It is something huge, great, magnanimous. It must be a joy. Every virtue must be vigorous. Virtue must be the only vigorous thing in our lives. Sin is large & stale. You can never finish eating it nor ever digest it. It has to be vomited. But perhaps that is too literary a statement--this musn't get insincere.
I'm not sure how to recommend the book; if you have ever struggled with prayer and yourself as a pray-er, or used journaling as a spiritual practice, I think you would probably appreciate it or at least enjoy it. The only thing is that it's almost too short to be worth paying for. So borrow a copy. I got mine on Kindle via the maternal economy.*

*Capuchin inside joke

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